Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Alive Again

 John 11:44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."

44 ἐξῆλθεν ὁ τεθνηκὼς δεδεμένος τοὺς πόδας καὶ τὰς χεῖρας κειρίαις καὶ ἡ ὄψις αὐτοῦ σουδαρίῳ περιεδέδετο. λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· λύσατε αὐτὸν καὶ ἄφετε αὐτὸν ὑπάγειν.

This is the result of the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  Jesus intentionally delayed so that there would be no doubt about what He did.  Clearly something supernatural was at work in the resurrection of Lazarus.  Jesus simply commanded Lazarus to come out and this was the result.

As we will discuss in the Pauline epistles, we are naturally dead in our sins.  We are like Lazarus in a tomb and rotting.  We cannot save ourselves, but when Jesus calls us forth we come out.  At the risk of over-spiritualizing this text, I can relate to the imagery of the grave cloths.  We may be regenerated with new life, but we still have all the encumbrances of the grave on us.

In other words, Jesus calls us to new life, but that does not mean we immediately stop looking at porn, overeating, lying, etc.  We still need Jesus to unbind us.  That is the process of sanctification and it happens after regeneration.  Don't let anyone make you think that you need to be perfect or you are not a Christian.  That would certainly be damnable heresy.

On the other hand, don't let anyone tell you that you can stay just as you were.  It doesn't make sense to keep rotting in the grave once we are made alive.  Therefore, we need to be constantly working out our salvation with fear and trembling.  Sanctification should be ongoing.  If it is not then we misunderstand grace.  Our personal scales will always tip too far one way or the other.  Let's remember grace, but press on toward sanctification as well.

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